28 November, 2023

How Restoration Workers Rebuild More Than Just Homes and Businesses

Leighton Healey

In property restoration, every day brings a new challenge. For those in the industry, a call for a loss is just another routine task, but for the client on the other end of the phone, it is potentially one of their worst days. Marissa Hofstetter, Vice President of Restoration 1 East Baton Rouge, knows this better than anyone and ensures that her team does too. In a recent episode of “The Restoration Playbook Podcast”, she and her estimator, Johnathan Dew, shed light on what truly drives their company and, by extension, the restoration industry at large.

Hiring for the Heart - More Than a Philosophy

If you've ever thought of restoration work as mere labor, you’ve never been to a Restoration 1 job site. “When disaster happens, we treat our customers like our neighbors, and we lead with passion and expertise to bring order in times of chaos” stated Marissa, because for them, it’s not just another property loss; it’s a loss of memories and pieces of their clients lives. If you really digest this, you’ll see that the role of a restoration worker very quickly shifts from completing labor duties to restoring hope, stability, and normalcy in the lives of their clients.

This shift in perspective from mere labor to a mission of holistic restoration is precisely why the heart of the worker is as important as their hands. It's not just about what they can do but about why they do it.

“At one point, we hired based on industry experience, and that didn't go so well for us. When we started hiring for character, that made all of the difference in the world. What we do is extremely difficult mentally and physically. It's 24/7, it's unpredictable, so you've got to find someone who truly loves serving people deep down to their core. Otherwise, that's not the candidate for you. That's not the employee for you.” - Marissa Hofstetter, Vice President, Restoration 1 of East Baton Rouge

This approach shapes a more compassionate and dedicated workforce and ensures that every project undertaken is more than just a job - it's a step towards healing for their clients. By prioritizing character and heart in their new hires and their team, Restoration 1 doesn't just restore properties; they rebuild lives.

Jonathan's Story: A Testament to Restoration 1’s Values

Jonathan is a lead estimator for Restoration 1 of East Baton Rouge, and his experience this summer gives a perfect picture of their values in action. After receiving a loss call for an AC pan overflow, he drove out to the job site and encountered a closet already overflowing with water. But when he opened the door, he found the homeowner's 50-year effort to trace their family lineage at risk of complete loss. Precious documents, some of which were from the 1100’s, were all getting damaged.

“I knew that that kind of stuff requires an insane amount of research. It kind of tugged at me to see what I could do. I was seeing blueprint family trees that he had been doing, I think I found the first one he made back when he was a kid. This was something that was huge in his life, and when I found a family coat of arms, it was kind of like the staple. That was his family. I asked Marissa if I could go to a hobby lobby and grab a nice frame for them. The homeowner told me that her husband was actually brought to tears when he saw it. The next time I went to their house to check on things, it was sitting right there. Right next to the entryway. It meant a lot more to them than I even knew that it would." - Jonathan Dew, Estimator, Restoration 1 of East Baton Rouge

After taking action and removing all of the documents from harm's way, John saw an opportunity to not only restore papers but to reconnect someone with their past, and you better believe that this was celebrated in the Restoration 1 of East Baton Rouge office. His success in saving these documents and going above and beyond by framing their coat of arms shows the heart he puts into serving his clients daily.

But it's not just Jonathan and the team at Restoration 1 who are driven by this passion for helping others. In our research for the book “Winning With Workers,” we surveyed over 400 restoration workers about their motivations, and the results were striking but not surprising.

Graph representing where field workers, managers, and office staff find fulfillment at work.

This type of work isn't just a paycheck for them. It's about rolling up their sleeves and making a real difference in people's lives. And that is the true, often unseen magic that restoration workers do daily.

Now, with that heartwarming story in mind, let's understand why this industry thrives on individuals who can look past the physical damage and see the human story.

Happy Team, Happy Business

First off, when your crew feels good about the work they're doing and they see the impact they have on people’s lives, that’s some powerful stuff. Think about it: they’re out there, sometimes waist-deep in water, turning tough situations around and watching families' relief and gratitude firsthand. That's not just fulfilling; it's downright inspiring, and it’s what they need to stay motivated and passionate through the difficult jobs.

It ends up becoming a cycle of positivity. They do great work, they see the difference they make, and boom - they’re ready to jump out of bed at 3 am and do it all over again the next day. This cycle of doing good work and feeling great about it leads to lower turnover and a more experienced, committed workforce. And when you start celebrating these wins, these moments of genuine impact, you'll see a massive shift in your workplace culture. It’s the environment that doesn't just retain talent but attracts it, contributing enormously to your business’s overall success.

From Service Workers to Superheroes

Let's not forget the ripple effect of this kind of service on your brand. When your team goes above and beyond with their work, it doesn’t just make clients happy – it turns your brand into something special. We’re talking about going from "just another service provider" to "those incredible folks who really help the community."

This is the kind of branding money can't buy and the reputation that gets people talking. Great reviews start rolling in, word-of-mouth referrals spread, and before you know it, your business is the go-to place. Why? Because clients know they’ll get more than just a service – they’ll get a team that genuinely cares. And that is what sets you apart in the market. People aren’t just looking for a quick fix; they want someone who’ll treat them with extra care and understanding. And when they find it, they remember and tell their friends.


Building a team that truly cares is like hitting the jackpot for both your employees and your brand because it's compassion and dedication that truly make a difference. Restoration isn't just about fixing what's broken. For folks like Marissa and her team at Restoration 1 of East Baton Rouge, it's about putting heart into every job and making a real difference in people's lives.

When your team is passionate about their work and truly cares for those they serve, it shows. It turns a regular day at work into a mission of hope and recovery. And the best part? This kind of attitude is contagious – it's good for the team, great for the clients, and it turns your brand into a local hero.

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